Back in February, I came down pretty hard on "Berserker" #0, not because of the story itself, which was pretty decent, but because of the price-to-content ratio. Finally, the first full issue of the series has come out and it shows that this is a book with some potential and great-looking art.
The first issue of "Berserker" centers on two men, Farris Jorn, a metalworker barely hanging onto a job and struggling with his temper, and Aaron, a high school student who viciously breaks an opponent's arm in a wrestling match. Both men seemingly have some sort of trance they enter into when provoked along with mysterious individuals watching them. While the zero issue teased Farris's past and 'berserker' rage, this issue suggests that the concept is larger than just him.
The pair of men make for an interesting contrast, as Loverd emphasizes their romantic lives as factors in their outbursts. Both are working class and want more. It remains to be seen if the two will be on the same side or opponents, but they certainly seem like they will play well off one another.
That said, with a zero issue and a first issue, you would assume that things would be beyond the most basic of stages in characterization and concept, but they're not. Both Farris and Aaron are barely sketched out with only the barest of hints about what lays behind their abilities available. One scene tries to give some perspective with agents from Midgard and Asgaard fighting, tying into the Norse aspect of the berserker, but not much is actually revealed in that scene.
Jeremy Haun's art is impressive and is the best thing about this comic. He's got a very smooth line and uses a lot of black ink to strengthen that soft look in places. With his background in black and white comics, he has a strong sense of composition and how white space and black inks can interact. His strongest work here are the instances of action, but the quieter moments between characters are well done as well.
"Berserker" still hasn't shown all that it can do, but the hook here is strong, and the juxtaposition between former soldier Farris and high school student Aaron could lead to some interesting situations should they meet. Hopefully, next issue will begin fleshing out these characters a bit more now that the groundwork has been laid.
(Check out Jeremy Haun's great art in CBR's preview!)